I like pumpkin spice lattes and a good fall scented candle. I think brunch is the best meal there ever was. I’m obsessed with puppies, can sing basically every One Direction song and was in a sorority in college.
And according to hundreds of viral articles floating around the Internet, I’m a “basic bitch”.
But I also live for live music in grungy dive bars. I’d choose an ice cold IPA over a Cosmo any day. I live in my worn in boyfriend jeans. I graduated college with a 4.0 and I co-founded a company at age 22.
Needless to say, I don’t feel very “basic”.
You’re probably familiar with this term that’s getting thrown around a lot lately online, but for those who aren’t, here’s a little background.
According to Urban Dictionary, the term basic is “an adjective used to describe any person, place, activity involving obscenely obvious behavior, dress, action.”
Sites like Elite Daily, College Humor and Buzzfeed are creating content around this label, ranging from articles on “How to Avoid Being Basic”, “Are You Dating a Basic Bitch?”, “15 iPhone 6 Features That Will Have Basic B*tches More Excited Than Ever”, etc. and all focus on girls who partake in activities such as watching Sex and City reruns, drinking pumpkin spice lattes and wearing yoga pants from Victoria’s Secret PINK.
Just go on Instagram and search the hashtag #basic and get ready for a slew of Starbucks cups, fall-flavored everything and mirror selfies-all of people tagging themselves as #basic.
This particular topic hits close to home for the Lala. Our number one goal is to create substantive content for college women. Content that shows that college-aged women are about more than just “DIY Jewelry Holders”, “10 Eye Shadows for Spring” and “7 Ways to Style Your Baseball Cap” but then also not shaming them for having interest in these topics.
It’s not contradictory. It’s a realistic reflection of us as humans. No one’s 100% business, 0% party, or vice versa. We’re all made up of a diverse set of interests, likes and dislikes.
So why are we minimizing who we are into one label—one derogatory label—because of interests we have? I can drink a pumpkin spice latte and paint my nails if I want. It shouldn’t make me “basic”.
After all, shouldn’t enjoying diverse interests make me…well, complex?
I get it. Most of the time the term “basic” is thrown around in a playful, humorous and sarcastic way. But it’s because we throw the term around so lightheartedly that we aren’t taking seriously how backwards the idea of labeling each other, and ourselves is.
Societal pressures on women to “be it all” are brutal. The always smart and snarky Amy Poehler couldn’t have put it better in this video.
When responding to a man about his struggle with trying to be cool and ‘adorkable’ at the same time she fires back, “Well this feeling that you’re having right now which is like ‘I’m supposed to be all things’ is a feeling that women have everyday and have their whole lives. So you’re just starting to experience it now like ‘how can I be cool, and tough, but also sweet?’ We have to deal with all those juxtapositions everyday.”
We’ve all felt that way. It’s an unbearable weight – and honestly, no one has it all. Throw in being shamed to the term “basic bitch” for wearing yoga pants – a girl can’t catch a break.
Worst of all, most of the time we’re tacking the word “basic” on to the front of the word “bitch” and throwing it around like it’s candy at a 4th of July parade. You may think I’m overreacting, and trust me, I love a good passionate swear word as much as the next sailor, but bitch is derogatory and disrespectful to women no matter which way you swing it and we gotta stop using it. You feel me?
And it goes for both genders. I’ve come across my fair share of articles about “Basic Bros”. We’re quick to throw men into narrow stereotypes and labels as well. This is something everyone faces, regardless of gender.
Being labeled “basic” is just one example of a bigger issue. The issue of stereotypes given to us based off of only a small set of interests and behaviors. To be an outcast and considered “different” than your peers comes with its own set of names and narrow labels— “Hipster” for example.
Bottom line, as long as we aren’t imposing harm to others, we should be able to do the things that make us happy and not be made to feel vapid, unintelligent, uninteresting or “basic”.
Before you go and hashtag #basic on that Instagram of your mimosa at bottomless brunch, hold up.
Don’t sell yourself short. Don’t minimize yourself to a label just because you hold an interest in seasonable fall foods, a top 40 hit, or something that’s “obscenely obvious”. Cause chances are, you have a lot of other un-obvious interests, amazing characteristics about you, dreams, ambitions, brain cells, opinions and unique experiences that make you truly one-of-a-kind
You’re the opposite of basic. And don’t you forget that.